Mission and Vision of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign


The fossil fuel industry drives the climate crisis, exploits and oppresses communities along its entire supply chain, and has captured our political process by buying off politicians. The Campus Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign calls on universities to confront this destructive industry by cutting financial ties with the top 200 dirty energy companies and investing in a just transition to a cooperative economy powered by democratically controlled renewable energy. To achieve divestment we are organizing and mobilizing students, alums, and faculty at colleges and universities around the country. We support these campaigners through political education, direct action support, leadership development opportunities, and coalition building.  


We believe that:

  • This campaign should be led by the interests of people most directly impacted by the fossil fuel industry and climate change-- communities of color and working class people in this country and around the world.

  • Universities should defend the communities they’re in, not profit from their destruction. They should nurture the young people they teach, not fund an industry that jeopardizes their future.

  • Mass movements taking action to confront climate change are essential

  • University endowment’s should model a just economy that prioritizes the wellbeing of all people over the accumulation of profit and their investments must reflect the principles of the institution


The fossil fuel industry’s mission is to extract and burn oil, coal, and gas for profit, regardless of the costs to people and the planet. To protect their wealth, they buy off governments and attack those who resist them. Communities of color, working class communities, and those in the Global South are hit first and worst by the fossil fuel industry’s recklessness. Additionally, the fossil fuel industry has been expanding outside the US through the exploitation of people and destruction of ecosystems, this is resource colonialism. We aim to end the stranglehold that the fossil fuel industry has on the political process - only then can we get the action we need to keep global temperature rise beneath 1.5 degrees C (AHEM) and build an economy that is sustainable and works for everybody.

The fossil fuel divestment campaign was started at Swarthmore College in 2010 after students met with anti mountaintop removal mining organizers in Appalachia. Upon return they looked for a way to organizer in solidarity with the people they had met. They launched a fossil fuel divestment campaign originally targeting many of the companies doing business in Appalachia. REC began working with students at Swarthmore in 2011 as they dove into their campaign.

In early 2012, REC partnered with the EAC, CSSC, and SSC to develop a coal divestment campaign focused on the fifteen largest coal companies. This campaign grew to reach 20 campuses the first year.

In the fall of 2012, the Do the Math tour was coordinated by 350.org broadening the campaign demand to the 200 largest fossil fuel companies and by January of 2013, the fossil fuel divestment campaign was up and running at more that 100 campuses nationwide.

In recent years, REC has continued to deepen its role within the movement providing direct campaign support over 60 campuses and while shaping the political analysis of student to provide a lense of the the corporatization universities and the neoliberalization of higher education. REC also continues to support the development of multi-issue campaign spaces and provides trainings on the importance of coalition building and collective liberation.

About REC's Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign

Fossil Fuel Divestment & Reinvestment

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College students and alumni at over 300 colleges and universities across the United States are demanding universities: 

Stop: Freeze new investments in the fossil fuel industry.

Drop: Divest and implement screens to ensure their portfolios are fossil free within the next 5 years.

Roll: Reinvest 5% of their endowment into community and energy solutions like credit unions and revolving loan funds.

Fossil fuel companies like Chevron, Shell, and Exxon are responsible for thousands of deaths each year. Most directly affected communities that have been fighting these extractive industries for decades have called for support from students. Divestment is a way to take action against these corporations locally, and end the silence around the deadly impacts of fossil fuels. 

Additionally, as supported by the newest IPCC report, the urgency of climate change cannot be overstated. The burning of fossil fuels is the leading contributor to climate change. Divestment and reinvestment not only tackles the root of this problem, but spurs the development of innovative sustainable technologies and enables communities to creatively come up with solutions by investing money directly into community-controlled institutions.

We are asking for 5 percent of the endowment to be reinvested in climate solutions, with 1 percent in community investment and 4 percent in traditional endowment asset classes.  For specific examples of appropriate reinvestment, click here.

Sign up here to let us know you are interested in getting in touch with a REC staff member for support on your fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment campaign. You can also send an email to [email protected]

For more resources on fossil fuel divestment and reinvestment, click here.

Stay up to date and keep in touch! Join the National Students Divestment email listserv and google group, follow this link. 



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